Shitshow in review

Dana Bash was right

9:00-9:15 pm

Regarding the Supreme Court appointment, Trump saying the Democrats “wouldn’t even think about not doing it” is his traditional way of saying, as the old comparison goes (wish I could remember who expressed this first), it’s not “I am not less than you,” it’s “you are no better than me.”

The idea that Biden is a socialist is not going to take at all. Socialists are passionate.

Biden wants to charm everyone with his smile, but there is nothing to smile about. And that makes his shuck-and-grin look like a way to deflect in a situation he can’t control, which is not good.

Trump is trying to steamroll Wallace, because he knows his rubes will consider anyone he argues with to be the enemy.

Trump is just talking over Biden and Wallace. I guess he expects to do this for fifteen minutes, at least, until everyone gets sick of it and tunes out — which is how he governs, come to think of it. (Update: He did it throughout, at intervals, until the Climate Change part where he obviously got bored.)

9:20-9:30 pm

Weird for Trump to say “millions would have died” if Biden were President under COVID-19. It’s upping the ante, which people don’t like when you’re talking about life and death. Trump’s doing the old salesman routine, talking about how great he is without letting you get a word in edgewise. I can imagine his fans being cheered by that, but how many normal people are going to walk away from this and think he's doing great on COVID-19?

Biden’s got the high ground, but he’s not pushing his advantage, and one gets the impression it’s because he can’t. He’s not fast on his feet.

The idea that Trump advances that Biden shouldn’t be “sarcastic” about Trump’s disinfectant comments about COVID-19 is strange, but it seems to have kept Biden from mocking him. (Well, apart from telling him to shut up and that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, which is not mockery so much as clinical description.)

When Wallace brought up Harris’ bit about “muzzling” scientists, Biden seemed puzzled and frightened, like maybe he thought she’d actually said he would be doing the muzzling.

Trump insulting Biden about Delaware State is just weird.

9:30 pm-9:45 pm

Trump saying the Democrats are shutting down their economies under cover of COVID-19 until after the election just to hurt him, and then blaming that shutdown for divorce and alcoholism, is the furthest he’s gone in the direction of actual conspiracy theories in the debate, which means it’s the farthest anyone has ever gone.

Biden does better when he’s not being interrupted — which is why Trump keeps interrupting him. It would help Biden if it seemed as if he could overpower Trump if he wished, but he seems unable to show that.

“I brought back Big 10 football” — Jesus, I’m still stunned anyone is getting pumped for and watching what amounts to practice.

9:45-10:00 pm

It’s surprising that Wallace pointed out the superior Obama jobs record, 2013-2016 vs. 2017-2020, and I guess he felt that he would have to let Trump lie about it in recompense (“the weakest recovery in history”). These people, I remind you, are not neutral parties; they are media professional protecting their interests.

When Trump started blathering about Hunter Biden, if Biden had prepared a line on the Trump family’s criminality, which is very well established, he could have done well. But he seemed unprepared, which is just derelict.

The race issue should be easy for Biden, but he couldn’t come out strong as he should have. I hate to say it, but you can’t just be right in these events — you have to be righteous and, unfair as it may seem, you have to evince the strength of expression that Americans associate with righteousness.

The weird reference to super-predators is MAGA chapter and verse, but Trump couldn’t hang onto it, and got right on the law-and-order goon chant, which is where he really lives. Biden seemed ready to respond, but Wallace redirected the question to the Breonna Taylor case, which led Biden to tread a middle-of-the-road be-fair-to-the-cops line — where he seemed comfortable.

10:00-10:15 pm

Trump is incoherent about racial sensitivity training, but for him it’s always a win because his racist base need constant assuagement and he’s always ready to give it. But Biden is good on the subject and Trump saying “under Obama there was constant division” is so dumb it isn’t even fooling the rubes.

Biden saying “I’m totally against defunding the police” is, cannot lie, disappointing but it’s the same disappointment I always feel.

Chris Wallace calling for the Democratic nominee to ask the Governor of Oregon to bring in the National Guard is… unexpected. Biden is trying the “let’s get everyone together” bit, but Trump is flooding the zone with shit.

Wallace offered Trump the opportunity to renounce the Proud Boys and white nationalists and he wouldn’t take it! It was so weird that Wallace, and I can’t say I’m surprised here, changed the subject. But, um, I think that’s significant.


Trump wrapped (Update: It just seemed like he was wrapping — maybe he was confused?) by saying he’s the greatest in history and bringing up Hillary Clinton, which seems really weird to me, an admitted non-fan. Also talking about his judges and how Obama “left” 128 openings, and how smart he was to exploit them — that doesn’t seem like it would leave a positive image, unless you admire thuggery (which, as we know, is what his mouth-breathers like about him).

It’s weird that Biden only brought up Putin now. It’s like he just thought of it. Maybe he really did.

Trump responding to the Beau Biden thing with Hunter Biden is genuinely stupid to try and it makes me think — as I seldom do, not being sentimental that way — that maybe viewers will overlook Biden’s watery reactions and think, “you know what? I’m just sick of this piece of shit.”

I think when the subject is climate change there is no convincing anyone, and that’s why Trump’s delusional “forest floors loaded up with dead trees” thing is not meaningful. To the extent it matters, it’s as another way to blame California for something. (Also, “Sir” alert!)

Trump is utterly unable to answer the question about what constitutes a fair vote because he hasn’t considered the idea that any vote, whether he wins or not, would be fair. What I said about Trump going further than anyone ever has about conspiracy theories with his COVID-19 stuff, I take it back; this thing about Hillary and Obama and ballots “found in a creek” just sounds like the ravings of a shit-smeared bum. This is one of the weird situations where Trump taking fast and loud doesn’t even seem like something that would convince dumb guys.

“Once the winner is declared, that’s the outcome” is a great way for Biden to stop, and Trump yelling over it is pretty good for Biden, too.

To conclude: My opinion about the debate is that Trump is a fascist and should be removed.